How a Start-Up Stays Up
I spoke with busy Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney David M. Offen, who was happy to share some tips about starting a small business, from a law firm owner’s perspective.
Mr. Offen started his Philadelphia bankruptcy and debt relief law firm in 2006. Since then it has grown to employ several attorneys and has helped over 8500 clients solve their debt problems.
Mr. Offen had these three tips to not only survive but thrive in a competitive market.
- Deliver a High-Quality Service or Product – Every Time
You must know your product or service inside and out. Having been in this business for over 20 years I know I can offer my client any debt relief solution they need, and that confidence causes them to have confidence in me and convinces them to let me help to solve their problem for them.
If you are just starting out in a new field or with a new product, do all the research you can and talk with others in the field. Find out everything you can – notice all of the pitfalls and heed all of the warnings. While there is no substitute for experience, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Frankly, failing to deliver a high-quality product from the get-go can ruin a start-up. How can you recover from bad reviews online or from a bad reputation? You can only make a first impression once.
- Satisfied Clients Should Generate New Business
It should go without saying that you must perform good work for existing clients, or sell a good product to existing customers. This alone hopefully will generate repeat business and referrals. But you also have to make it easy for your satisfied clients to leave you positive reviews. This reaches a body of potential clients you would not reach otherwise through word of mouth.
- Client Reviews Can Be Gathered Automatically
There is software that sends clients an email with a link to a survey of your work or product or service. Then, if the survey result is positive, the software sends clients another email with a link to a review of your firm for the satisfied client to complete.
Positive reviews increase your authority online. Capture them and you will parley the goodwill of your satisfied clients into new clients.
This software also creates a customer email list that you can use to advertise sales or promotions. Don’t spam your customers! One email a month is sufficient, lest you risk irritating them. And do please include a way for someone to unsubscribe, and honor those unsubscribe requests.
- Repeat and Referral Business Can Be Encouraged with Incentives
The type of incentive you choose to employ is dependent upon the type of business you have. If you offer a service, you might offer cash back for referrals (if ethically allowed – attorneys do not do this). If you offer a product, you might offer a certain percent off future purchases, or a coupon they can distribute to friends and family.
The days that a business website was a passive form of advertising, like a business card, are long over. A website should be findable, if you will, when people search the web for the service or product you offer, it should be informative, and it should start the viewer on their buyer’s journey and convert the viewer into a client or customer.
How does one do this? Well, first you design the site with marketing in mind. The site should, of course, be optimized for mobile. Regarding content, your site should first identify you and what you offer and make it easy to purchase your product or to hire you. The content will be optimized for SEO so that people looking for you or businesses like yours find you.
Your site should also include a blog that has regular contributions about the latest developments in your field, establishes your authority and expertise in your field, gives you even more opportunity for SEO, and helps readers begin their buyer’s journey toward you.
Does this sound like a lot of work? It is. It is important to have a good business website designer who can help you with the site design and structure, the content, the SEO, and all aspects of branding.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter frequently works with busy Philadelphia bankruptcy and debt relief attorney David M. Offen.